Water/Ways exhibit on view until March 5

By Christi Comeaux

From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71 percent of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry and more. It inspires art and music.

The Cameron Parish Public Library, in cooperation with The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Calcasieu Parish Public Library, will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program.

The “Water/Ways” exhibit will be on view through Mar. 5 at the Central Branch of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library, located at 301 W. Claude Street in Lake Charles.

The Cameron Parish Public Library system and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to host “Water/Ways” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.

Due to damages caused by Hurricane Laura, the Calcasieu Parish Public Library will serve as a host to house the exhibition for the Cameron Library.

“Water is an important part of everyone’s life, especially here in Southwest Louisiana, and we are excited to explore what it means culturally, socially and spiritually in our own community,” said Christy Comeaux, Public Information Officer for the Calcasieu Parish Public Library. “We are thrilled to help our friends at the Cameron Parish Public Library, who have developed several public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition.”

Such free events include:

Friday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. “Waterways and Wetlands.” Dr. Craig Colten will lead a community discussion on waterways and wetlands in South Louisiana. Topics included in the discussion range from wetlands restoration to the effect of land loss on cultures. Dr Colten is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University.

Friday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. “Pollution and Water Filtration.” Nanette Fontenot will read and discuss the books The Water Princess by Susan Verde and A House by the River by William Miller. A craft will follow the discussion.

Friday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. “Wetlands and Preservation.” Phillip Trosclair will discuss what people can do to fight coastal erosion and their social responsibilities. Mr. Trosclair has written and backed many projects to protect our wetlands and wildlife in his many years with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Friday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. “Our Relationship with Water and Industry.” Clair Hebert Marceaux, will discuss Southwest Louisiana’s relationship with water and industry. Clair is the Port Director at the Cameron Port, Harbor, and Terminal District.

Friday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. “Born on the Bayou” film presentation. Dr. Liz Skilton will lead a discussion on coastal loss and its effects on our people after a film screening of the film, “Born on the Bayou.” Dr. Skilton is the Associated Professor of History and Director of Public History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Friday Mar. 4 at 6 p.m. TBD.

All programs, except for the grand opening, will be held using the Zoom online meeting platform. Those interested in joining the discussions can call (337) 721-7116 (Calcasieu) or (337) 598-5950 (Cameron) to sign up.

This Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Water/Ways tour was made possible by the BHP-funded project, Coastal Impacts: An Integrated Approach for Community Adaptation, Understanding, and Planning, which will assist local communities to build intergenerational coastal literacy through community conversations around books, film, and exhibitions, fostering greater understanding of and support for coastal restoration projects.

The “Water/Ways” exhibit explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

“Water/Ways” is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programs. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #ThinkWater.

“Water/Ways” was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (www.smm.org), in collaboration